some of their exploits. Not yet entirely clear, however, is the
precise relationship between the loose traditions and the written
composition (Vol. 2, p. 427).
Obviously, then, a widely known oral and written tradition that Jannes and
Jambres were pharaoh's magicians existed before and during the time that 2
Timothy was written. To say that a simple reference to this tradition consti-
tutes wonderful proof that the Bible was inspired of God is typical of the
superficial thinking that characterizes most arguments used to defend the
inerrancy doctrine. Upon careful scrutiny, they are invariably found to be
empty of substance.
Even in the absence of the body of tradition that identified Jannes and
Jambres as pharaoh's magicians, there would still be no proof of divine inspi-
ration in 2 Timothy 3:8. As noted earlier, without tradition to aid in inter-
preting this passage, one could never know if the writer was referring to
pharaoh's magicians or to two of the many other adversaries Moses had to
confront as leader of the exodus. Furthermore, without the tradition, the
writer could have whimsically used just any names, and there would have
been no criterion to use in evaluating the accuracy of the information. If,
for example, a writer should say that Jeeter and Joomer were the leaders of
the rebellion against Moses at Meribah (Num. 20:2-13), would this prove
(since the names of these leaders are "nowhere found in the Old Testament")
that the writer was inspired of God in so saying or would it prove nothing
more than maybe he had just made up the names? We'll just let Mr. Jackson
and those who may have been impressed with his argument try to escape the
cutting edge of Occam's razor on this point.
The real tragedy in this matter, however, is not that bibliolaters like Mr.
Jackson would have no more intellectual pride than to offer such superficial
arguments as this one in support of the inerrancy doctrine but that so many
of their readers will gullibly accept them without critical analysis. It is a
syndrome that enables Bible fundamentalism to survive in an era that should
have laid the inerrancy doctrine to rest long ago.
Having experienced the emotional trauma of losing faith in the Bible, we
can understand why anyone in the initial stages of unbelief would be reluc-
tant to let his doubts be made known. If this should be the case of any
readers on our mailing list who are receiving TSR at the request of friends
or relatives, we want to assure them that they can contact us for advice or
help with complete assurance that their inquiries will be kept strictly confi-
dential. Nothing written or said to us will ever be made public without the
consent of the writer (or caller).
Mac Deaver, a Church-of-Christ preacher from Austin, Texas, and Farrell
Till will conduct an oral debate on the campus of Southwest Texas State
University in San Marcos, Texas, on March 25-28, 1991. The issue in ques-
tion will be Bible inerrancy.
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